Judo has its origins in the hand to hand combat of Jujitsu in feudal Japan. Founded in 1882 by Dr. Jigoro Kano, as a refinement of the ancient martial art of Jujutsu. Dr. Kano, President of the University of Education, Tokyo, studied these ancient forms and integrated what he considered to be the best of their techniques into what is now the modern sport of Judo. The Kodokan Judo institute founded by Dr. Kano is still the governing body of Judo today. It was introduced into the Olympic Games in 1964 and is now practiced by millions of people throughout the world. Judo is practiced for competition, physical fitness, self-confidence, and for many other reasons. But mostly, just for the pure "fun of it".

Judo is best known for it's throwing and grappling techniques on special mats for comfort and safety. The spectacular throwing techniques, pins, control holds, arm locks, and Judo choking techniques emphasize safety and conditioning. As a sport, Judo has evolved from a fighting art into an art that develops body control, balance, and fast reflexive action. Above all, it develops a sharp mind and body coordination.

"Remember also that all martial arts are defensive. In karate, every kata starts with a block; in aikido, someone has to attack you to make the technique work, in judo, someone has to take hold of you or attack you. If a 10th degree black belt in judo and a 10th degree black belt in karate squared off to duel and all variables were equal, (such as age and weight), who would win? Some would say "karate," others would say "judo." But whoever said one or the other does not understand what I am trying to explain. The correct answer is simple: no one would win. There would not be a fight: if all things were equal, neither man would attack. If one did attack in such circumstances, he would surely lose, for the attack would create a weakness in the art.".....Sensei Darrell Craig


  • Contestants

    Before a contest or (shiai) one contestant is assigned a blue sash to wear in addition to their obi (belt) and/or they will be asked to wear a blue Judogi. After the contestants have bowed in and stepped forward, the referee announces the start or the contest with "hajime" (begin).

  • Scoring
    • Ippon (200 points)
    • Waza-ari (almost ippon, 100 points)
    • Yuko (almost waza-ari, 10 point)
    • Koka (almost yuko, 1 point)
  • Penalties (Negative Judo)
    • Hansoku-make (very serious violation, ippon to the opponent)
    • Keikoku (serious violation, waza-ari to the opponent)
    • Chui (violation, yuko to the opponent)
    • Shido (minor violation, koka to the opponent)
  • Objective
    In Judo competition the objective is to score an ippon (one full point). Once such a score is obtained the competition ends. An ippon can be scored by one of the following methods:
    • Executing a skillful throwing technique which results in one contestant being thrown largely on the back with considerable force or speed.
    • Maintaining a pin for 25 seconds.
    • One contestant cannot continue and gives up.
    • One contestant is disqualified for violating the rules (hansoku-make).
    • Applying an effective armbar or an effective stranglehold (this does not usually apply for children).
    • Earning two waza-ari (half point). A waza-ari can be earned by:
    -1- a throwing technique that is not quite an ippon (for example the opponent lands only partly on the back, or with less force than required for ippon);
    -2- holding one contestant in a pin for 20 seconds; or 3) when the opponent violates the rules (keikoku).
    • If the time runs out with neither contestant scoring an ippon, then the referee will award the win to the contestant who has the next highest score. For example a contestant with one yuko would win against an opponent who scored 4 kokas.
  • Scoreboard
    In Judo it is the highest score that wins. The score-board is laid out left to right to show the score like a number. In the example, the score is 100 to 31: white's single waza-ari beats the lesser quality of blue's 3 yuko's and 1 koka. The Ippon score is not shown on the scoreboard because there can only be 1 Ippon and it ends the match.
    Waza Ari
    Waza Ari

    Professor Jigoro Kano
    Founder of Judo

    The following article is a wonderful tributes to Professor Jigoro Kano by Keiko Fukuda Sensei.

    After the revolution of 1868 in Japan, the Tokugawa Shogun was defeated and a constitutional monarchy, such as in England, was born. It was only natural that there were a considerable number of people who could not cope with the stream of new changes after the revolution. Among them were the professional Jujitsuka who up to then served the Tokugawa Shogun and about 300 feudal lords by giving Jujitsu lessons to their warriors (equivalent to European knights) in preparation for battles. It is understandable that these Jujitsuka lost their position after the old system collapsed.

    Jujitsu was a grappling technique that was developed in the Middle Ages, and it was also called Yawara. Ju or Yawara means gentleness and Jitsu means technique. This name was adopted because Jujitsu is a physical technique by which to control an opponent without going against the strength of' the opponent, but by utilizing the opponent's strength. This theory of gentleness, the principle of Ju, was essentially the same and could be used whether the warriors wore stiff heavy armor or not. After the 16th century, various Juitsu schools were created such as the Takeuchi School, Sekiguchii School, Shibukawa School, Kyushin School, Yoshiin School, Ryoishinto School, etc.

    As mentioned before, these schools declined gradually after 1868, and Jujitsu was almost on the point of extinction. Just then, a small young man, by the name of Jigoro Kano, entered the Department of Literature at Tokyo University. Although he was mentally brilliant, his concern was to conquer his physical weakness in order to become a useful citizen in the future. For this reason he became interested in the art of Jujitsu in spite of its declining importance.

    Professor Kano studied Tenshin Shinyo Ryu Jujitsu from my grandfather, Hachinosuke Fukuda, and then Masatomo Iso, and Kito Ryu Jujitsu from Tsunetoshi Iikubo. His foresight proved correct, his health improved vastly, and in 1881 (at thle age of twenty-two) he graduated from Tokyo University with outstanding grades and a physique to match. He became a professor at the peers' School which is equivalent to Eaton in England. He spared time from his busy work schedule as a professor, and eagerly studied the Jujitsu theory which completely captivated him.

    In 1882, he opened a Dojo (gymnasium) which he named the Kodokan and started to train students. The gym was a small room of less than 40 square feet within the Eishoji Zen Temple in Tokyo. Gradually, promising students who respected and trusted Professor Kano came to study at the Kodokan. Among these students were Sakujiro Yokoyama, Gisho Yamashita, Shiro Saigo, Tsunejiro Tomita, etc. whose names are well known by the present day public of Japan as the main characters in the novel, "Sugata Sanshiro", written by Tsuneno Tomita's (Tsunejiro Tomita's son and 6th degree black belt.)

    Professor Kano's research on jujitsu progressed rapidly with the assistance of these students, but the professor was also accompanied by many hardships. By this time, Professor Kano had combined all the good points of Jujitsu and added to these his original ideas to complete his techniques. In addition, he combined his own philosophy into the techniques in order to complete the moral side, and Judo was created in order to cope with the modern conditions. Ju of Judo means " gentleness", and Do means "way". We must realize that this word, "way" means not only technical strength, but also connotes strict moral principles which are essential in striving for self-perfection as a human being.

    The Jujitsu specialists who were living from hand to mouth at that time did not listen to Professor Kano's principles, but instead they attempted vigorous opposition to him, claiming that Professor Kano was taking their professions away from them. Many times Professor Kano and his students were challenged with unreasonable methods of combat by the old fashioned Jujitsuka. His breaking of the new ground in Judo did not have the support of' the general public, because many citizens who were busy making the change to the new world were indifferent to either Jujitsu or Judo. His hardships were comparable to that of the difficulties experienced by pioneers in many countries. Professor Kano endured and overcame a great many of such hardships.

    Professor Kano became the principal of Tokyo University of Education and later became a Senator. In the meantime, the Kodokan moved to different locations in order accommodate the increasing number or students as Judo became more popular. Today, the Kodokan Judo institute is located in Kasuga-cho, Bunkyoku, Tokyo, Japan. The main Dojo consists or 500 mats and many smaller Dojo where young students from all over the world eagerly receive training.

    In 1923, the Women's Division was started with the thought that the moral element of Judo would have a great influence not only on women's physical training, but also character development. Professor Kano passed away in 1938 at the age of seventy-eight, but his lectures to his Students are well remembered. "The aim of Judo is to utilize physical and mental strength most effectively. Its training is to understand the true meaning of life through the mental and physical training of attack and defense. You must develop yourself as a person and become a useful citizen to society." Maximum Efficiency" and "Mutual Prosperity", the concepts of Professor Kano, are the mottos of Kodokan Judo. --Dr. Keiko Fukuda

    The preceeding article appears in Keiko Fukuda Sensei's book "Born for the Mat" published in Japan in 1973. In recognizing the pioneers of Judo, it is only appropriate that tribute is paid to its founder. It is equally appropriate that we print one of his most devout student's account of its beginnings. In her own life, Fukuda Sensei strictly applies these disciplines in mind, body and spirit, and is completely dedicate to Judo. Sensei is also equally recognized world-wide as "The principal pioneer of Joshi Judo". Although we have not been able to verify it as fact, it is believed that Keiko Fukuda may be the only living female student of Jigoio Kano Shihan.

    Dr. Keiko Fukuda with our own
    International Champion Claudia Smith